Album Review: “Full Moon Fever”
By Ed Brikker
The Clarion Call — October 26, 1989
Tom Petty’s first effort without aid of the Heartbreakers, “Full Moon Fever,” is a fine effort, indeed. After the disappointing “Let Me Up, I’ve Had Enough” and the hazey “Southern Accents,” “Fever” is a welcome relief. Petty’s lyrics are crisp and biting, bringing back memories of “Hard Promises” and “Long After Dark.” Collaborating with Petty on seven of the album’s twelve tracks is former ELO member and fellow Wilbury, Jeff Lynne. The album also has help from three of the four Heartbreakers, with Mike Campbell (a Heartbreaker) doing the album’s guitar solos. Campbell also helped right two of the songs.
The first single, “I Won’t Back Down,” could easily have been a Traveling Wilbury tune. Kind of mellow, but a decent song. Rocker “Runnin’ Down a Dream” was the next single. A fantastic song and a terrific video. “Free Fallin'” is the perfect ballad for 80’s radio, what with their infatuation with sappy ballads. However, the lyrics are deeper than anything Poison or Winger could come up with. The rest of the album is filled with great, basic rock-n-roll tunes. Petty gets stars for “Zombie Zoo,” “Love is a Long Road,” “Yer So Bad” and “A Mind With a Heart Of Its Own.” However, I can’t help but believe Petty and Lynne are laughing about the line ‘my middle name is Earl’ in “A Mind…”. Any Petty fan, or any fan of great rock-n-roll will love “Full Moon Fever.”